Thursday, November 28, 2013

Things are changing

Greetings and welcome.

In November of 2013. I will no longer be supporting this blog as I will move towards a full-scale online rebranding focused on my research and passion for music business marketing.  You can check out my new blog directly at my website which is:

I will keep this blog active, as I feel there has been a lot of information shared for both drummers and musicians alike. Just remember, I will not be maintaining the new site. So please visit:

I look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Getting a cruise ship gig.

I get a lot of questions about what musicians need for a cruise ship gig. Well, luckily for you all I now work for an agency, Mike Moloney Entertainment,  that specializes in placing musicians and bands on cruise ships.  Over the past couple of weeks I have been putting together a series on the subject that walks you through the process of defining your talent, creating a great demo, how long it takes to land a gig at sea, filling out the paperwork, and then packing for your cruise ship performance job.  Here are the links to each article.

Part One: Defining your talent and branding yourself for cruise ship success:

Part Two: Creating a great demo:

Part Three: How long it takes to land a spot:

Part Four: The cruise ship medical exam:

Part Five: Packing for your cruise ship gig:

We plan on releasing more information at our blog Musical Ship Life to help aid those considering performing on cruise ships. So check back often.  If you are considering playing on a cruise ship I would love to see your demo.  Just fill out Mike Moloney Entertainment's Talent Questionnaire and we will review it.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

More Social Media Leads with Creative Twitter Tag lines

As part of my job I analyze contract riders for major acts coming into venues we book. Some of these riders get long and tedious, but to promote a great show we have to painstakingly adhere to every requirement set-forth by the artist's management.

After looking over hundreds of these documents I can see why some promoters (not our amazing company) may miss a few items. And this is quite common and evident in the famous bowl of green M&M's clause, which was used as a litmus test by one smart manager.  He knew that if his group arrived in a greenroom and were welcomed by a big fat bowl of M&M's, all the other deal points were probably adhered too.

Back to my point.

Last week one of my co-workers was laughing as she read through one of those riders.  I had to ask her what was so funny, so she started to read me some of the passages. The manager had written the rider in the artist's voice with humorous quips such as "I am serious about this, it will really make me mad, so please don't do it" and "I know this sounds like it doesn't matter, but it is really important for me." My favorite "we need six loaders, not three and two friends, and don't lie and say you have six when you only have five because that's not cool."  Under food selections he gave choices such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches "Meh", turkey sandwiches "eh", and grilled cheese sandwiches "wohoo!"

My point is because the manager took the time to write this usually boring document in a unique humorous light, we read through it. Not once, not twice, but many, many times.  The outcome, this artist will receive all the best deal points for sure from most of his promoters. 

So how does this apply to you artists who can't get a rider, much less a contract, much less a paying gig?

Well, let me tell you.

I get hundreds of people requesting to follow me on Twitter every month. Most of them are artists with the hopes that I can help break them into the industry. When I get a notification in my email that they have decided to follow me it includes their name and their Twitter tag line.

Man, you would be surprised at how many artists say, or claim, the same thing. "Award winning artist for X band", or "Music Producer, Artist, & Engineer", or my favorite "Free download at...please take your time to go to another website sign up and download it."

I will admit, my tag line "Agent with Mike Moloney Entertainment • B.S. Music Business Management • MBA in Marketing Candidate" is not any better.

But here's the thing I am aiming at a different demographic, so my tag line meets the objective I have put into my branding and marketing plan. Musicians need to think differently for a number of reasons, but I will give you a couple.
  1. You are supposed to be creative, so sell me on your creativity right out of the gate. If you show me that you can be unique in a Twitter headline, chances are I will listen to your music as well.
  2. There are far too many artists competing for a limited number of gatekeepers, who have limited amounts of time. You need to differentiate yourself and give them a reason to check out your profile.
Think about the contract rider I spoke about at the beginning of my post. Because the person chose to write it in a unique way it was given much more attention at a very busy office. Now think about this. Your Twitter tag line allows you to capture someones attention, but you have a limited amount of time to do it. If everybody else is claiming to be the best producer, the best artist, the greatest musician ever, what would happen if you claimed to be the "best sloppy Joe maker" or will give a free concert to support diabetes if you get so many followers.

In short. You have a small window of opportunity to grab your Twitter audiences' attention and motivate them to action. You are already creative, so do what your good at.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The thin line between music and religion

On July 3rd I had the opportunity to travel to Seattle to offer assistance for my company, Mike Moloney Entertainment, in producing the first show in Snoqualmie Casino's Summer Concert Series.

Let me tell you. If you have never been to Snoqualmie for an outdoor show, you are missing out. The 2,000 seat outdoor theater overlooks the beautiful Cascade mountains in a way only pictures can show.

For the inaugural 2013 concert we had a unique line-up. First on the bill was Eric Burdon and the Animals.  Burdon became famous for that small hit "House of the Rising Sun." At 72, Eric still knows how to rock and brought in the Woodstock generation of music lovers who were on their feet after every song.

The second half of the bill was held by Ziggy Marley.

I already know what your thinking.  How can a show like that work?  Aren't those two very different artists, with two completely different groups of fans?  

Well, let me tell you. It did.  And it was one of the greatest testaments to the power of great music that I have ever seen.

During Eric's show you could see youngsters in Bob Marley t's, clad in yellow, red, and green singing along. When the songs ended many were on their feet with the elder music statesmen beside them. But, that is something you would expect from the youth.  They are there for a good time, and alcohol certainly helps.

Then after a short change, Ziggy hit the stage, and to my surprise I watched as many of Eric's fans stayed.  But they didn't just stay. Within minutes of that Reggae drop on three many where up and dancing.

As I watched the crowd I witnessed people of all races and colors dancing. Some danced with people they never met. My eyes became fixated on a lady in her mid eighties. She was clad in red, white and blue for the holidays in one of the "high roller" boxes, and she was up and dancing through the whole show. She danced with the youngsters besides her, she danced with her family, by herself, and even pulled her husband up for a few numbers.  She was "into the reggae mon". 

And when it was time to close the show, Ziggy did it with absolute class. He performed his dad's tunes, which seemed to bring his fans, Eric Burdon's fans, and the spirit of his father into the cool mountain air.  And he left with a rousing applause.

As humans we always seem to be looking for something spiritual. Some find it in Jesus, others Buddha, and some Allah.  We are all looking to be connected. Connected to the earth, to the spirit world, and to each other.  On July 3rd I witnessed as music did just that.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

iTunes Radio a BIG Plus for Musicians

Well its finally here.

For the past couple of years Apple has been teasing us with a music streaming service. To be honest we all knew it was coming, we just didn't know when, and what it was going to do differently.

They finally dropped the hammer on June 10, 2013 at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) where they showed off the user interface (UI), and then told us we would all have to wait until this fall before we could enjoy it.  You can read their press release on the event here.

And here I am writing about it fifteen days later. Not to on top of it Larochelle.

To be honest when I watched the announcement I wasn't shocked. Like most of us, I knew it was coming. No big deal I thought. Then as the genius of Apple soaked into my brain I realized what just happened.

They found a way to truly monetize streaming.  And that is huge news.

A month before Apple's announcement, the RIAA announced that streaming criteria would be added into their gold and platinum album tallies. For many this is no big deal, but for artists and those in the business of music it was huge. On one side it solidified the fact that streaming was here to stay, and as some will argue (myself included) probably become the main source of how consumers digest music.  The problem with this announcement is that it puts artists in a very awkward spot.

Streaming really doesn't pay. Go ahead Google it and see if artists are making serious money off of the fraction of a cent they get every time someone listens to their intellectual property on their phone or at work. Now the RIAA has solidified it as a true delivery method, which will increase its presence in the market. From here on we are only going to see streaming increase, and with that increase less people buying music.

There are many reasons people won't buy as much music, but one of the biggest is that services such as Pandora, Spotify, and MOG don't offer consumers ways to buy the album from their interfaces. Well some do, but it's not efficient, and the Internet consumer needs efficiency or else they just won't buy.

Apple steps in and solves that problem.  From their UI a consumer can purchase the track they are streaming and instantly add it to their library.

That's the competitive difference between Apple and the other streaming companies out there.

They understand that streaming can be a loss leader (at least it should be with what artists are making from this delivery system), and the moment a consumer is listening to a new track is a prime time to get them to drop $1.29 to own that tune. This is business marketing 101, and without a doubt Apple will reap some serious profits from a huge increase in sales from their iTunes store.

If you are an artist it is time to take note and adopt two simple rules. A.) stop bitching about streaming and get your music through an aggregator ASAP; B.) stop bitching about what Apple pays and get onto their service.  This is now the way music is consumed, and if you want fans you need to be where they will be shopping. You can try all your other ways. You can proposition them on Facebook and Twitter, you can send out Email blasts, you can play shows and sell CD's out of your van. None of these will be as efficient as what Apple is giving you.

They will let people listen to your music a number of ways, for free. And if your song is good enough, if it grabs their attention and encourages them to buy, Apple has given them the easiest way to do that. They can just charge their credit card that is attached to their iTunes account. It's like they aren't really spending money. All this happens without you having to do a thing, and it happens across the planet 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The bottom line. You are leaving money on the table if you don't. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Drumming away the calories

About ten years ago I had visited my doctor for an annual check-up.  Being a guy that has always fought weight issues, he decided to perform a bunch of exams to see how bad my "obesity" was affecting my health. He ordered blood tests, checked my thyroid, blood pressure, heart. You name it, and he checked it to prove just how unhealthy I was.

I returned for a follow-up to hear his prognosis, which I am sure he was looking forward to relaying to me. He flipped through my tests, and with each page turn I watched more confusion hit his eyes.

"OK, Mr. Larochelle. You don't have a thyroid problem, and your blood pressure is perfect, in fact it's better than mine. What are you doing?"

"I drum."

"No that can't be it" He responded as he flipped to the next page "and your cholesterol is lower than mine. How can that be?"

"I'm telling you Doc. I drum an hour every day."

"No, drumming isn't exercise. It can't be you are sitting down" he replied.

"Have you ever drummed before?"


"Then you don't know how much you move, how much you sweat, how high your heart rate goes" I replied.

Then I showed him what it's like to drum. I started to tap my feat (both of them) and move from left to right as though I was jamming around the kit.

"Do that for an hour every single day and see how good you feel."

"Well, you keep on drumming, because it seems to be working."

Many non-drummers would never guess just how many calories we burn while we bang on the tubs. For giggles I have been wearing a heart rate monitor and calorie counter for my past week of in home practices.  At times my heart rate hit 160% of my resting rate and I burn around 400 calories per hour doing what I love. And a 2008 study by Dr.  Marcus Smith of Chichester University in England proved that I am not the only one.

Smith found that during a performance, [a drummer's] heart averages between 140 and 150 beats a minute, peaking at 190. Levels comparable to other top athletes. But unlike top athletes who compete at this level for an hour three times a week, he found touring drummers are required to perform at these levels for up to two hours every single night. His conclusion after studying drummers such as veteran tub basher Clem Burke of Blondie "a drummer's fitness level needs to be outstanding."

Check out the full article here.

Now, I am not saying you should ditch your regular work-out routines. In fact the more exercise we do in our lives the better chances we will have at a longer healthier existence. What I am saying, is that when combined with your regular exercise regimens, drumming can really help you continue to burn calories. It should also remind us that what we do is a sport and properly warming up, drinking lots of water, and stretching will make our time on the kit that much better and more enjoyable.

*Jeremy is not a doctor. He doesn't even play one on TV. All workouts should be discussed with your health care professional. Even if they don't realize drumming is exercise.